BFS Video // 2004 // 50 Minutes // Not Rated
Reviewed by Judge David Johnson // April 6th, 2006
Your child's weapon against predators.
LOCAL BOY ESCAPES POSSIBLE KIDNAPPER, LAYS THE SMACKDOWN
AUBURN -- A local boy named Steve Withers, 12, eluded a potentially dangerous situation when he used self-defense skills to ward off a suspected abductor. Withers was walking home from school on Tuesday when he was approached by a man identified as Rocco Parese, 46, a Washburn native.
Authorities said Parese attempted to engage Withers with a question, and then lure him into his 1994 Ford Taurus. Withers launched into a carefully practiced resistance routine to at first shock Parese with loud, verbal warnings, followed by a savage beating. Police said Parese was totally caught off guard by Withers' intensity and well-honed skills.
"That guy never had a chance," said Sgt. Walt Williams, the first to report to the scene, which was initially an attempted kidnapping, but later became assault. "I've seen a lot of things in my days, but I ain't ever seen a grown man so thoroughly whooped like Parese. He was crying and everything."
Withers admits that his formidable skills are partly the result of a new self-defense program he's taken part of. It is called I Am Not a Target!, and was recently released on DVD format. The hosts of the program, Meredith Gold and Mike Belzer, are trained experts in children's self-defense program. Gold is in fact an abduction survivor herself, and through that experience has been motivated to train children to protect themselves at all costs.
"My mom bought this DVD for me last week," Withers said. "At first I was pretty pissed. I was hoping for Dora the Explorer or Saw II, but after I watched it I learned some cool moves."
Some of these tactics involved spotting potential predators, looking for the signs of luring, producing a code word with parents, utilizing words and body language to confound a predator, and, of course, basic attack options.
"There was this one part on the DVD where this guy came out in pads," Wither recalled. "The kids took turns kicking him in the balls. It was great."
Withers relates a few of the moves he picked up from the DVD: the eye gouge, the shin kick, and the aforementioned groin strike. According to his testimony, Withers utilized all of these attacks on Parese.
"I kicked him in the sack first," he said, "then, when he fell down, I stabbed his eyes with my fingers, stomped on his shinbones, kneed him in the throat, then kicked him a few more times in the groin."
Asked if he was nervous at all, Withers replied: "At first, yeah, but then I started kicking ass, and it was all good. In fact, a bonus program called 'The ABC's of Bully Defense' came with the DVD, so now I'm ready to deal with Tommy 'Lugnut' Anderson at school."
Parese was immediately taken to the emergency room. Following his reconstructive surgery, he will be placed into sheriff's custody.
"I just wanted directions to K-Mart," Parese said. "Next thing I know, I black out, and when I come to I'm in the emergency room and my @#$%*@% nuts are on fire."
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Scales of Justice
Studio: BFS Video
* Full Frame
* Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Running Time: 50 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
* "The ABC's of Bully Defense"
* Safety Tips for Kids
* Instructor Profiles
* Studio Web Site